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Hand, Wrist, Elbow & Shoulder Care

Reflecting on a Life-Changing Wrist Repair

When Bill D. was a sophomore in high school, he sustained a scaphoid fracture – a break of one of the small bones of the wrist – during a football game. He was told it was a minor break that would heal on its own. After a little rest, he continued to play football and wrestle through the end of his senior year, but he was still having near-constant wrist pain. At a reevaluation right after graduation, he was told his wrist was still broken and that he needed surgery.

“Prior to finding the Einstein medical team that ultimately helped me, I had a reconstructive surgery,” says Bill. “During the procedure, dead bone was scraped out, a bone graft was set in place and a screw was put in. The result? I was in worse pain than ever before.”

The bone graft – taken from another part of Bill’s already-injured wrist – added more stress on the joint, and bone continued to die around the screw causing “unbearable” pain every time Bill moved his wrist.

“I had trouble with everyday activities – even opening a door,” says Bill. Following the advice of his surgeon, he went to see James Raphael, MD, Chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Director of the Hand Surgery Program at Einstein Medical Center.

Rebuilding a Joint – and Confidence

Bill says that during his first evaluation, Dr. Raphael recognized Bill’s pain and urgency and “wasted no time booking me for surgery.”

“I was ready to move on with my life, but I had been told that my injury couldn’t be fixed and I’d never play sports or lift again,” says Bill. “Dr. Raphael listened to me and was confident he could help. On the morning of my surgery, I was slightly nervous, but he came in and told me, ‘It’s time to get that wrist fixed,’ and my fear dropped away.”

Dr. Raphael repaired the injured wrist in November 2016 with a bone graft from Bill’s hip to eliminate unnecessary vibration on the stressed joint.

“My pain level dropped tremendously, and I didn’t feel sick after surgery like I had previously,” says Bill. “Prior to that second surgery, I had trouble doing almost everything, let alone trying to work out, so now to be bodybuilding a couple of years down the road is a miracle, and my life has improved tremendously. I am beyond grateful to Dr. Raphael and his team, as I was starting to lose hope.”

Bill says he thinks Dr. Raphael’s confidence and reassurance that he would one day be lifting weights again with no problem helped him heal even faster.

“I put a lot of pressure on my wrist every day as a lifting athlete, but I’ve had no issues,” he says. “Dr. Raphael’s work is quality!”

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